Georgia State Recognized for Success of Students of All Backgrounds

ATLANTA – Georgia State University’s deep and continued commitment to student diversity, social responsibility and ensuring that students of all backgrounds succeed has again earned the institution national accolades. New reports from the The Education Trust and a recent 41 point jump in The Washington Monthly’s overall annual rankings illustrate GSU’s rapid rise, and are markers that the university’s strategic vision is being realized.

Georgia State continues to be ranked among the top public universities in the U.S. in graduating African-American and Hispanic students, according to two new reports released Thursday by The Education Trust.

Reports show that Georgia State’s data-intensive approach to increasing graduation rates for students of all backgrounds has been a success.

The university is ranked No. 1 among all public universities in the nation for the rate at which it graduates Hispanic students relative to other student populations, and No. 2 in the nation for its improvement of graduation rates for Hispanics. Georgia State has raised the graduation rates for its Hispanic students 37.4 points in the last six years.

The university is also ranked No. 5 in the nation for the rate at which it graduates African-American students relative to other student populations.

Timothy Renick, associate provost for academic programs and chief enrollment officer, credits GSU’s success to careful use of data and programs such as Freshmen Learning Communities (FLCs) and The Goizueta Foundation Latino Leadership Pipeline Scholarship.

“The Education Trust reports illustrate that something of national significance is going on at Georgia State,” Renick said. “Students from populations who tend to struggle elsewhere not only succeed at Georgia State, they flourish.”

The reports show that Georgia State’s strategic plan is working, said President Mark Becker.

“The Education Trust reports repeat that we are achieving success in our overarching goal to demonstrate that students from all backgrounds can achieve at high rates,” he said.

Recent rankings published by Washington Monthly magazine also bear this out. These rankings, based on the criteria of social mobility, service and research — all of which figure prominently in GSU’s current strategic plan — are designed to recognize those schools that recruit and graduate low-income students; encourage students to give back to their communities through service; produce cutting-edge scholarship and send graduates on to Ph.D. programs.

Out of 281 national universities, GSU ranked No. 92. The magazine ranked 1,569 colleges and universities, broken down into categories of national universities, liberal arts colleges, master’s universities and baccalaureate colleges.

The Education Trust is a non-profit organization that promotes high academic achievement for all students at all levels, seeking to close the gaps in opportunity and achievement between underrepresented students and their peers. In 2010, Education Trust promoted Georgia State as a national model after the university raised graduation rates for minorities by 18.4 percentage points from 2002 to 2007.

“Progress is possible for all institutions, especially when institutions like Georgia State University take responsibility for the outcomes of their students,” said Mary Nguyen, higher education research and policy analyst at The Education Trust. “Since adopting a data-intensive approach to increasing graduation rates, GSU has successfully raised graduation rates for students of color and closed their gaps in graduation rates with white students. By continuing to improve, GSU has proven that low graduation rates for its African-American and Hispanic students are not inevitable.”

The overarching goal of Georgia State University, as it looks to the future, is to be recognized as a dynamic academic community where teaching and research combine to produce leaders and create solutions to conquer the challenges of the 21st century. To that end, the university has implemented its ambitious Second Century Initiative, which will add at least 100 faculty members by 2015 and enhance scholarly strength through interdisciplinary collaboration.

As The Education Trust and Washington Monthly recognize, GSU is a place where any student, no matter their background, can have that opportunity.

Sept. 26, 2012